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How Linkedin Put On A Pr Masterstroke

Ah, the joys of being in the top 1%Alas, its been a few days now since I got the great news from LinkedIn, and since then my joy has been replaced by other, more unpleasant feelings: confusion, acceptance, a little more confusion and finally, appreciation. I know its been some time since everybody got the emails from LinkedIn and its basically old news, but it really made me think seeing how everybody keeps talking about it. And not just social media or marketing bloggers, but even ordinary people everybody is talking about LinkedIn! Could it be that this was a carefully planned out PR masterstroke?

So what exactly happened?

Starting about a week ago, LinkedIn users started getting very similar emails from the popular social network, stating that they are one of the top 1%, 5% or 10% most viewed LinkedIn profiles in 2012. And everyone was proud of their achievements, after all they were the most viewed out of 200 million users! So, as things happen in the digital age, everybody started boasting about their popularity but very soon discovered disappointingly they were not the only ones! In fact, it seems that almost everyone on LinkedIn is in the top 10%, which makes it hard to feel special. It might sound good, but when you start thinking about it, 10% of 200 million is 20 million, which makes it much less impressive.

In January 2013, the top business social networking platform announced that it finally reached the 200 million members milestone, and decided later to celebrate the people who helped them get there: its top users, the 20 million most viewed profiles on LinkedIn. In a blog post on the LinkedIn blog on 7 February, 2013, Ada Chen Rekhi of LinkedIn announced that, starting today, were sending personal emails to many who have been instrumental in helping us reach this milestone to recognize their part in our journey. And I have to add, they were putting it mildly when they used the word many! After showing an infographic with some fun facts about LinkedIn, Ada adds, if you get an email from us, we hope youll share the news on LinkedIn and beyond to inspire your network to be a part of our community. A-ha! Theres the premeditation! Heres the infographic with some interesting facts:

In the beginning, as the emails started rolling out, bloggers and ordinary people alike started asking what was going on. J Andrews of WordPress asks, so does this mean my profile was actually viewed a lot? Or that there are so many spammers, marketers and recruiters on LinkedIn that the stats are doing funny things Actually, wrong and wrong! Twitter was rapidly bombarded with happy, and some incredulous, tweets:

As time went on, people started realizing that being in the top 5 or 10% was not really that much of an achievement and the jokes started:

But at the same time, people started appreciating the campaign:

So their plan worked like a charm. People of all jobs and occupations, all ages and all interests started talking about the LinkedIn Top % campaign. And the stages that peoples mindsets went through should go in marketing books: at first, people were happy and proud. And what else use social media for, if not for bragging? So they started sending out the LinkedIn-composed tweets Hooray! I have one of the top x% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012 and they started posting screenshots of their emails on their Facebook accounts.

In the second stage, people started realizing that it wasnt very much of an achievement: everybody was getting the same email! Wherever you looked on the Internet, someone was in top 10% LinkedIn users. So some got mad, bust most were just confused, yet ready to laugh about it. Which led to even more shares and more free advertisement for the social network!

And finally, people are starting to realize the genius of the campaign. Its been over a week, and people are still talking about it. Some are still in the first stage and still sending out happy tweets, but most are just making fun of it or started talking about the success of the campaign. It even took some of the attention off Facebook and their Graph Search and the new, extremely controversial Bang with Friends app. In a way, LinkedIn took away Facebooks party and made it all about them for a change. It looks to me that they were trying to steal Facebooks thunder and that the timing was not a coincidence at all. And in fact, Ive personally seen more people talking about the LinkedIn campaign on Facebook and Twitter than on LinkedIn! Its very interesting how instead of the usual Facebook conversations, people took to it more and more to talk about a competing social network. I have to admit, Im very eager to see how LinkedIn user numbers changed over this period.

A new trend?

LinkedIn were clearly trying to get more people to talk about them and in turn get more registered users through this campaign. They subtly suggested so in their blog post when they asked the people that received the emails to share them with their friends on social platforms so that everybody finds out about their extraordinary performance. They tried to create the viral effect, and its working beautifully for them! They couldnt have thought of a better way to make the most out of their 200-million users achievement, as people have been talking about LinkedIn constantly since the first emails were sent, on 7 February. And it doesnt even seem to be cooling down, because many people have still just received the emails and marketers are just starting to realize the genius of the campaign.

Im also very curious to see if this is going to start a new trend in marketing because just as I am writing this, the funniest thing happened: Kred just sent me an email, saying that I am a top 1% influencer (of course, with the tell your friends option included):

Coincidence? I have to admit I am a bit skeptical. I think that there is a good chance that the LinkedIn Top % campaign might just be copied by others and I cant wait to see if it will work with others as well. I love LinkedIn and I am very impressed with their campaign but it probably wont work for just any other social network or tool (like Kred), but who knows?

What do you think of LinkedIns strategy? Have you received an email and how did you feel about it? Please leave your comments and share.

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